Unsung Heroes: K. A. Thomas

Fr. K. A. Thomas, sdb, is the founder director of Institution for Culture And Rural Development, Jorhat,
Assam. He is a fellow of Ashoka Innovators for the Public, Virginia, USA. He has travelled widely in Northeast India, knows its people and cultures, and specializes in the culture of the local people. He has travelled in the USA, Canada and Mexico, and has learned about the life and culture of second generation Philippino-Americans. He has worked for more than forty years in Assam. One of the specialized research papers that he has authored is “Neo-Vaishnavite Monasticism in Assam in the Light of Christian Monasticism”, about the Satra Institution of Assam. After about 15 years heading educational institutions, he ventured out for community transformation working with the under-privileged. He has founded Jeevan Entrepreneurship Training Institute, Jorhat, training educated unemployed youth in professional development.

He has bachelors in Arts, Bachelors in Assamese Language, Bachelors in Philosophy, Bachelors in Education, Bachelors in Theology (from Sacred Heart Th. College, Shillong, affiliated to UPS, Rome), and Masters in Multi Cultural Ministry from Graduate Theological Union, Berkeley, USA. He is a member of Don Bosco international.

Institution for Culture And Rural Development (I-CARD) founded by Fr. Thomas “empowers tribal communities to discover their identities and achieve recognition, based on the Mising model it has tested”. In this model, Fr. Thomas has been working with the 1.4 million Mising tribe for the past 20 years. About 70% of all Mising tribal children drop out of school. The demands of the farm, of caring for siblings, lack of motivated parents and teachers, the absence of school buildings, and the fact that their educated elder brothers and sisters do not have jobs, cause Mising students to drop out.
It is in this scenario that Fr. Thomas has set in motion the ‘angels of change’ to transform their society.